Sunday, June 7, 2015

A perfect sail...

No, Kintala is still on the hard at Oak Harbor. She still needs weeks of work before we can splash her and go exploring some more. And we are still in St. Louis. But with the condo just a few more hours of work from being handed over to the broker, we decided to call it an early Friday and head out to our old stomping / sailing grounds of little Lake Carlyle.

Boulder Yacht Club's annual Tapas at the Dock party was this weekend. Friend Jeff and several others were off chartering in the BVI, but he offered Gail Force as a place to park our gear and lay a weary head after each day's festivities. Such an offer was too good to pass up.

It was evening by the time we made it to the Tradewinds marina with the hope of touching base with some friends made during the initial weeks of getting Kintala ready to go on the truck. Unfortunately, one boat was heading out for a night sail when we pulled into the parking lot and no one else showed by the time we had finished our pizza. With it getting late and us feeling the efforts of the last few weeks we headed off for Boulder.

The lights were on in club house and a collection of life-long friends were gathered around trading stories. Walking though the door was like stepping back in time. Heartfelt greetings all around and soon we were settled in as if two years had never passed, telling stories and catching up on local goings on. Friday had nearly become Saturday before we found our way to Jeff's well-maintained Hunter and settled in for the night.

It felt so good to be back on the water, the boat moving just that little bit against her dock lines. I even smiled at the thump of carp on the bottom of the boat, a sound traded for that of sizzling shrimp at many of the places we anchor now. The moan of the coal train floated over the boat while the pterodactyl cry of the blue herons raked the marina. Two years...I couldn't make the time lines fit together.

Our good friend Bob and yes, alcohol was involved. 
Photo credit Emily Elden
Saturday dawned clear and nearly windless. The scheduled race was canceled for lack of motivation and we spent the day greeting familiar faces, walking the dock while hearing tales of who had sold, who had bought, who was still around, who had moved on. At 1800 the party officially started. We all walked the docks some more, now well fortified with various concoctions of drink (some hi-test, others pure rocket fuel), food, costumes, and boats open for inspection. The party went late and this morning started kind of slow.

By mid-morning pretty much everyone was accounted for. Even better the wind was blowing a steady 15, gusts to 20. Residual affects from the night before were forgotten as several crews started prepping for some hours on the water. Pam and Bill gathered up a crew of eight to get Paradise underway for only the second time this season. The mid-west winter was nearly as bad as the one that beat on Oak Harbor. Many are getting a late start on the season and, as a result, today was just the first or second time out for nearly everyone. Deb elected to stay in the club house and finish up the final edit of the book with the help of Best of Friend / English teacher / book editor, Emily.

I went sailing.

Motoring out of the marina it was hard to grasp just how much has happened, how drastically our lives have changed, since the last time I rode a boat around that corner. The lake that opened up off the bow was much bigger than the one that resides in my memory, the dam appearing much further away. The main went up with a single reef, soon joined by a full jib. Waves were barely a foot or two, though some sported little whitecaps in an effort to look respectable. Once in a while the bow would catch one just right, tossing enough spray over the boat to wet the spot at the base of the mast. The same spot where I was sitting with a content smile on my face, lost in the feeling that I was riding a sail driven time-machine.

We tacked back and forth on the southwest wind, working toward the dam and Coles Creek. I barely recognized where we were, my memory of the place skewed by the miles of blue water that have become our home. A couple of hours passed and then it was time to point the bow away from the wind, back toward the marina. It seemed too soon to me, but for people living on land “weekend” is a word with real meaning. Monday is a day to be reckoned with and some on board faced a pretty good drive to get back to their world. The main was tucked away and we jibed past party beach toward the barn. With the wind and waves just off the stern and the jib full and pulling hard, a more perfect point of sail could not be had. At the last minute we fell away from the channel marker onto a jib-only broad reach. Approaching Monday or no, making one more pass across the lake and back met with everyone's approval.

Being back on Carlyle, sailing with old friends on such a perfect day, was a sublime treat after weeks on the road. We have a good life now and the day on the water has me eager to get back to it. But our old life was a good one as well, with treasures of its own. Lake Carlyle, muddy water, carp banging on the bottom of the boat at night, shallow spots and all, was one of them.

1 comment:

Pam Mcbride said...

Love your story about our sail. Glad you came along!